Everyone has at least one USB device or, at least, most people know what USB is for. The USB standard has been around for many years already and it quickly became a standard in the industry because so many manufacturers decided to produce equipment that use it. Now, Intel has released the specifications for the next iteration of the standard, USB 3.0.
USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, will have many significant improvements over it’s predecessors and peripherals that make use of the new standard should become available sometime late in 2009 or early 2010. Here are some of the improvements that are described in the release:
- Higher transfer rates: This is a given because that is basically what everyone is looking for, especially if you transfer large files to/from an external drive for instance. USB 3.0 should be able to transfer at a whooping 4.8Gbit/s (614MByte/s) making it 10 times faster than it’s little brother, USB 2.0.
- Simultaneous read/write: USB 2.0 and 1.0 are only capable of doing one-way operations at a time, resulting in much slower transfers. With USB 3.0, Not only is the raw transfer speed faster, but it also goes both ways at the same time so you can copy to AND from a hard drive at the same time. The only problem will be that your USB 3.0 cable will be faster than the hardware it is connected to.
- Higher Power Output: Many devices get their power from the USB cable or simply use the cable to charge themselves. With USB 3.0, the power output will go from 100 milliamps to 900 milliamps. We should be able to charge our devices faster and connect bigger devices without having to use an external power adapter.
- Backwards Compatibility: We should be able to use a USB 3.0 cable with older USB 2.0 devices. Not only will it work, but some newer features like the power consumption control will kick-in.
- Power consumption: USB 2.0 used a polling method to verify if a device was sending data to the computer and if it needed power. This means it was an “always-on” process and consumed more energy than was required. USB 3.0 will us an Interrupt-driven protocol to ensure your devices get only what they need, when they need it.
The standard for USB 3.0 is not yet 100% complete and this article certainly does not cover everything that is new, but it is a pretty good summary of what most end-users will be looking for in USB 3.0.
I am very eager to see all my devices become USB 3.0, but that means I’ll have to get a bunch of new toys to play with!